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After the war, the Japanese were forced out (only, ironically, to return years later as tourists), and a covenant made CNMI a U.S. territory, like Puerto Rico, in 1978. Living in the commonwealth isn’t exactly like being an American citizen. Inhabitants don’t pay U.S. taxes and they can’t vote. The agreement gave the U.S. the authority to conduct foreign affairs and defense for the fourteen thousand citizens, while reserving the right to build military bases there. And, in a move that some today have branded a major mistake, the U.S. government allowed the commonwealth to set its own immigration, minimum wage, and customs policies. The local government’s lenient laws opened the door for a massive influx of garment factories and laborers. Since the island was a commonwealth of the U.S., manufacturers could avoid paying duties on materials coming in and garments going out, sidestepping expenditures totaling $200 million a year, meaning they could produce a shirt that would normally cost $10 for just $5. Without adequate regulations, Saipan didn’t just allow sweatshops to exist, it practically invited them. In the past five years, garment contractors on the island have been cited for more than a thousand OSHA violations. Officials established a system of short-term work permits, allowing workers from places like China and Korea to enter the commonwealth for a year. Today, foreign guest workers make up more than 90 percent of the garment industry workforce there, constituting more than half of the Marianas’ total population of seventy thousand. Many workers have been forced to work twelve-hour days, seven days a week, without overtime compensation. Some have been forced to sign “shadow contracts,” which waive some of their rights, such as freedom to practice their religion, ask for a raise, or even date. Chinese workers would customarily pay employment brokers in their homeland up to $10,000 in recruitment fees in exchange for helping them obtain work in Saipan, then they would be obligated to pay off the debt over time. It wasn’t until they started working that they’d realize this wasn’t the plum setup they had bargained for. The workers would earn far less than their recruiters promised and have no one to complain to. If they were fired, they would still be responsible for repaying their employers. It was, in effect, indentured servitude. The CNMI set its minimum wage at $3.05 per hour, about half of the federally mandated wage in the States and a deceptive figure since garment workers are nearly always paid by the piece rather than by the hour. And thanks to the CNMI’s sloppy customs system, imported textiles and other materials were not routinely checked upon arrival, letting fabrics from countries that had been subject to quotas and tariffs slip through the cracks.Reviews On Fashion Mia – ImgMob Bestcelebritystyle

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